New York City’s 46th annual Pride March was bound to be even more political and urgent than usual. In the aftermath of the Orlando shootings at a gay nightclub during the weekly Latino night, feelings of solidarity, of mourning, and of resistance were more present than ever among this year’s marchers.
Shouts of “Fuck the NRA” and “We stand with Orlando” periodically went through the crowd Sunday, and signs and placards reading “We are Orlando” were present throughout the entirety of the march’s path down 5th Avenue and into the Village. Many people held signs with the names and faces of those who lost their lives on June 12, and a procession of white-shrouded marchers holding up photos of the individuals killed made for a powerful and sobering image.
While last year’s parade celebrated the passing of marriage equality across the country, this year’s march honored those who lost their lives in the Orlando attacks and victims of hate crimes in general while also serving as a passionate plea for gun control, and a loud and proud declaration of the LGBTQ community’s perseverance, strength, and diversity.
The parade was led, as per usual, by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was accompanied by his wife Chirlane McCray, as well as Reverend Al Sharpton and actress Cynthia Nixon. Governor Andrew Cuomo and (surprise!) Hillary Clinton were also present, as was noted gun-control advocate Senator Chuck Schumer.
Of course, there were plenty of LGBTQ rights icons, including the teen trans activist Jazz Jennings, who was the youngest Grand Marshall at the parade, and the legendary activist Edith Windsor. Muppet Bernie also showed up.
Despite the tragedy of the past month, the mood of the parade was unmistakably celebratory and defiant, in keeping with the recent creation of a Stonewall National Monument. Couples were holding hands and smooching while people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds were exuberantly dancing and chanting. There was even a freshly-married couple who happily made their way down 5th Avenue while the crowd cheered their hearts out, a sea of rainbow flags all around them.